Spartans pluck Falcons

BOARDMAN -- On Nov. 30 Boardman High's boys basketball team went to Austintown Fitch, where the Spartans went down to a 16-point defeat. On Friday night, Boardman returned the favor, using a dominant second quarter to defeat the Falcons, 55-33.
The contest looked like a defensive struggle at the start, as a Steve Fabian field goal and the first of Andrew Chifolo's three 3-pointers gave Boardman a 5-1 that it wouldn't relinquish.
Fitch's Michael Brown tossed in a field goal and a free throw inside the last 50 seconds of the first quarter, which ended with a score of 5-4.
Second quarter heat
But, in the second quarter, Boardman's 5-foot-10 point guard, Jon Kocon, tossed in a 3-pointer with the second period only 17 seconds old, and after a Fitch turnover seconds later, Chifolo popped his second 3.
Shortly afterwards, Kocon hit another shot from downtown and then, with one of his four steals, he broke away for an easy layup. Another Chifolo 3-pointer from deep on the baseline with the quarter only 2:25 old gave the Spartans a 19-6 lead.
Part of Fitch's woes came at the offensive end. The Falcons were driving to the basket and getting fouled, but they only made 2-of-10 free throws and finished the game 7-of-20.
"Our goal was to pack it in to stop penetration," said Fitch coach Gary Conroy, "and playing both man-to-man and a zone we didn't allow too much, but with seven turnovers we didn't do too much either. All of a sudden they began to shoot the lights out, and that was the game.
"If we hit some early free throws, we possibly could take some of Boardman's momentum away, but going only seven of 20 from the line won't win too many games," Conroy said.
Boardman outscored the Falcons 23-10 in the second quarter and went 6-for-9 on 3-pointers. That gave the Spartans a 28-14 lead at the intermission.
Third quarter run
Early in the third quarter Fitch cut the margin to 10 points (29-19), but a 6-0 run gave Boardman a 35-19 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter.
The score was 39-27 at the end of the third quarter and a balanced attack had the Spartans ahead 55-29 with less than two minutes remaining.
Boardman (6-10, 1-6 Federal League) played one of its best all-round games of the season, according to coach Dan Gorski.
"We did a lot of things well and it was good to pick our heads up and get a win when we really needed one," he said.
"Getting that three-point binge in the second quarter gave us a good lead and a lot of confidence on the floor."
Chifolo was 3-of-4 on 3-pointers and he finished with 13 points. Nick Ludban, who leads Boardman with a 14-point average, finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Kocon added 10 points and Steve Fabian had six rebounds.
Fitch (8-7, 2-5) had 15 turnovers to 14 for the Spartans and the Falcons held a 32-28 edge in rebounds. Tyran Eargle, a guard, grabbed eight boards for Fitch, as did Dan Martin.
James Wallace scored 22 points for the Falcons.

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